Allow me to make some predictions about how ABC will make sure its Obama infomercial examination of health care issues will be “ informative and fair, thoughtful and thought-provoking.” [h/t Instapundit]
ABC will frame the entire infomercial in leftist terms. They will use leftist definitions of what is and is not a health-care problem and they will present only leftist solutions to those problems. The “balance” will come when they deign to let non-leftists argue within the bounds that leftists set.
It will go something like this:
(1) The introduction for the infomercial will be run something like, “We are here tonight to discuss America’s health care crisis which leaves millions of American children without health care and threatens America’s economic productivity.” This is a common tactic of left-leaning media. They will define the entire debate from the outset in leftist terms. They won’t question the presumptions that we have a crisis, that the lack of insurance means a lack of health care or that our health-care system threatens our economic competitiveness. From the introduction onward, the “debate” will be over how to best address the issues that leftists feel are important. The closing summation will also restate the issues from the leftist perspective.
(2) Any non-leftist perspectives will be introduced only in short refutations of detailed leftist assertions. For example, a leftist will lay out a detailed case that government standardization of medical information technology will significantly decrease health-care costs. The “balance” will be a non-leftist saying, “No it won’t.”
(3) In keeping with (1) and (2) there will be no mention of non-leftists’ assertions that our current level of government interventions causes many of the problems we currently see in health care. They will not mention ideas about how our tax policies create a 3rd-party payer system that reduces consumer incentive to shop for price, about insurance mandates make many people pay for coverage they don’t want or need, about how government blocks low-cost alternatives to care or about how excessive testing and liability costs significantly increase the cost of new drugs and technologies. The entire issue will center on how much more government intervention we need. The idea that we need less government intervention in health care won’t even be mentioned.
(4) Leftists will be given more airtime overall. Leftists will be given time to present their ideas in their own words whereas non-leftists’ ideas will be presented only in the questions of the moderators/interviewer, e.g., “President Obama, how to respond to those who say…” If any kind of debate format is used, non-leftists will be interrupted and cut off much more often than leftists.
Of course, as in most policy debates with leftists, non-leftists will be force to defend the real-world health care system against the leftists’ fantasy health care system.
The most disturbing thing about the whole question of leftist media bias is that the journalists really believe they are trying to be fair. They are so immersed in leftist subculture that they can’t even conceive of debates framed in any other terms than the ones that leftists set. It will never occurs to them that they reveal a profound bias just by the questions they choose to ask.
(If I get a chance, I’ll get a copy of the transcript and do an analysis to check for the patterns I predict.)